Working Group Appointed to Help Guide Town’s Review of MBTA Communities Zoning Requirements

June 21, 2023

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ANDOVER, MA - The Town of Andover has appointed thirteen residents to serve on a newly-established MBTA Communities Working Group. The panel will be responsible for helping to guide the Town’s process of assessing the requirements of the state’s MBTA Communities zoning law and developing potential strategies for its implementation in Andover.

Members of the Working Group will support the Town’s ongoing public outreach around the zoning requirements and analyze feedback from the community in identifying ways to achieve compliance with state regulations.

The thirteen members appointed to the working group are: Jessica Randolph, Emran Baqui, Jane Gifun, John O’Hara, Kevin Coffey, Andrew MacKenzie, Linda Lecomte, Stuart Rubin, Denise Johnson, Benet Raphel, High Conlon, Jennifer Lemmerman, and William Walsh.

The opportunity to apply to serve on the working group was widely promoted by the Town beginning in March. The Town prioritized appointing members with a diverse range of experience, including renters, homeowners, long-time Andover residents, and newer members of the community.

The MBTA Communities Zoning law, enacted in 2021 by the Massachusetts State Legislature, requires the 175 communities serviced by the MBTA to have at least one zoning district, of reasonable size, in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right and meets the following criteria set forth in the statue:

  • Minimum gross density of 15 units per acre
  • Located not more than 0.5 miles from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable
  • No age restrictions and suitable for families with children

The deadline for adopting a compliant zoning district, which would require approval from Town Meeting, is December 31, 2024.

The appointment of the Working Group marks the continuation of a community-driven process to evaluate the implementation of the MBTA Communities zoning law launched by the Town’s division of Planning & Land Use earlier this year. Several events have been held to provide opportunities for residents to learn more about the new law and share their suggestions with Town staff.

On June 7, a community visioning session was held at Memorial Hall Library. Planning Staff provided attendees with an overview of the law, tested their ability to identify the correct housing density during a brief game called “How Dense is This Property?”, and with the assistance from Planning Staff and a Consultant from Barrett Planning Group, LLC, began the process of identifying potential MBTA District Locations. A recording of the event can be viewed online.

The Town intends to hold several additional visioning sessions throughout the summer.

For more information about the MBTA Communities law and opportunities to participate in shaping Andover’s MBTA Community District, click here.